21. THE FRIARS OF ST. MARY, CAMBRIDGE
When the Carmelites made their first settlement in Chesterton it was apparently in the
nature of a group of hermits, each having his own
cell (habuerunt singuli cellulas singulas). (fn. 1) On their
removal to Newnham they took on more the
form of a regular convent, building not only a
church but also a cloister and dormitory. (fn. 2) It
would seem that some of the original community
disapproved of the change and refused to move to
the new site, and that these became the 'Brethren
of Blessed Mary'. The land formerly held by the
Carmelites in Chesterton was in the hands of
Sir Philip de Lisle by 1251 and was granted by
him to Nicholas de Wynepol, (fn. 3) but in 1279 the
'Fratres Beatae Mariae' dwelling in the town of
Cambridge held a messuage in which was their
chapel, where divine service was celebrated; which
messuage they had bought of Henry de Berton,
paying him 12d. rent and he acquiting them of the
4d. hagable due from the site. (fn. 4) This purchase
had been made in 1273 by Walter de Croxton,
proctor of the Order of Blessed Mary in England,
with the consent of the Prior General of the
Order. (fn. 5) In 1290 the Brethren of Blessed Mary
at the Castle began to build in the parish of All
Saints by the Castle, but this was regarded by the
canons of Barnwell Priory as trespass 'and the
new work was denounced to them by the throw
of a pebble'. (fn. 6) However, they came to terms and
agreed to pay half a mark yearly to the Infirmarer
of Barnwell. (fn. 7)
Apparently these brethren who clung to the
earlier site and form of organization continued
also to use the older 'pied' garments after the
orthodox Carmelites had become White Friars.
It was as Pied Friars (fratres de Pica) that Edward I
in 1279 gave them 20s. for 3 days' pittance (fn. 8) —
half the sum which he gave to the Carmelites;
and in 1331 Roger Andrew conveyed to Sir John
de Cambridge a tenement within the close
formerly belonging to the fraternity of St. Mary
called le Frerepyes at Cambridge Castle. (fn. 9)
References to tenements of the Brethren of
Blessed Mary in All Saints and St. Clements and
to their land on the Huntingdon road occur in the
deed of 1314 by which Richard de Hokyngton
founded a chantry in the church of the Holy
Sepulchre, Cambridge. (fn. 10) In the following year
Alan of Wells bequeathed 6s. 8d. to the gild of St.
Mary, 3s. 4d. to the Carmelites, and 2s. to the
Brethren of St. Mary by the Castle. (fn. 11) The
brethren were still in existence in 1319 but seem
to have been reduced by that time to William de
Fakenham, who styles himself 'Prior of the
Brethren of the Order of the Servants of Blessed
Mary, Mother of Christ, in Cambridge', and
Thomas of London, his confrater. In that year
they attorned to John de Sutton, chaplain, to pay
him during their lives 12d. rent which Cecily,
widow of Henry de Berton, had assigned to him. (fn. 12)
The vesica-shaped seal used by William de
Fakenham shows the Blessed Virgin seated on a
panelled throne holding the Child; in a niche
below is a kneeling friar. Legend: SIG. CŌVENTVAL' FRM. ORDĪS SERVOR MARIE MATIS XI
Lib. Mem. de Bernewelle, 211.
Belvoir MSS. (Hist. MSS. Com.), iv, 62.
Hundr. R. (Rec. Com.), ii, 360.
||Corpus Christi Coll. deeds, xxxi, nos. 9 and 10.
The latter is endorsed—'When the said friars of the
Order of Blessed Mary died without successors by law
(per statutum) as it appears the chief lord of the fee
sold it back to those who had given them the land.'
||An exact parallel occurred in 1368 when the
parishioners of Newcastle-upon-Tyne started to rebuild
the choir of their church; the proctor of Hexham
Priory 'quemdam lapillum ad novum opus predictum
projecit et . . . novum opus nuntiavit': Priory of Hexham (Surtees Soc.), i, illust. doct. no. lxviii.
Lib. Mem. 218.
||Exch. K. R. Accts. bdle. 352, no. 18.
||Corpus Christi Coll. deeds, xxxi, no. 31.
||Cole MS. iv, fol. 129.
||M. Bateson, Cambridge Gild Records (C.A.S.), 133.
||Corpus Christi Coll. deeds, xxxi, no. 24.